Things you never knew you always wanted
Every once in a while you encounter a moment of serendipity. That moment when something happens and you know this was always meant to be. When life reveals that in all it’s mysteries and eccentricities wants you at this point, at this moment, so precisely this thing can happen. For me that moment came when I encountered Manborg and Kung-Fury, two movies that epitomize everything I’ve ever wanted out of cinema.
I don’t know how I could possibly sell you on THIS MOVIE more than this image ever could
I’ve always loved really bad films but in recent years I hadn’t been seeking them out as voraciously. In the past I would consume them with a passion, regularly watching every single bad movie that aired late at night on Syfy or other specialty channels. But aside from Iron Sky or Sharknado, I sort of glossed over the genre. One day before Christmas holidays this year, I was downstairs at my in-laws place trying to find a movie for everyone to watch on their Apple TV, and came across the following synopsis of Manborg:
The armies of Hell have taken over the Earth, and all that stands in the way of the villainous Count Draculon and humanity’s total extinction is a motley crew of misfits led by the mighty MANBORG: a warrior that’s half-man, half machine, but all hero. Once a young soldier killed during first war against Hell, Manborg reawakens in the future, rebuilt as a walking weapon and mankind’s last hope. Struggling to learn the secret of his origins, Manborg unwittingly befriends a post-apocalyptic Australian punker, a knife wielding vixen, and a kung-fu master, before finally squaring off against Count Draculon in a desperate and bloody bid to take back the Earth!
Now I don’t know about you, but that sounds like my perfect movie. I immediately texted a friend that we needed to watch this movie, but because it wasn’t quite the style of the movie I was searching out (we eventually settled happily on Hotel Transylvania) I put it aside for later. Once we finally got around to watching it, it didn’t take more than about 5 minutes after the movie to order everything creator’s Astron-6 have ever done. Watch it, it’s seriously that good.
As for Kung Fury, I don’t think I could possibly sell this movie any better than this trailer already does, as frankly, if that does not sell you on the film then you just don’t like good things. Hit the jump for other awesome things, including some actual Warmachine talk.
Back in the saddle again
This guy delivers what is by far the best line of Manborg, and it’s just a offhand comment, freaking hilarious
So previously on Lost Hemisphere, things were run very structured, with posting days and deadlines and the even-handed tyrannical grip of the brave AussCEO. That really didn’t work for me BECAUSE I DON’T PLAY BY THE RULES-and also have a crippling case of the lazies, which meant that the good God-Emperor-Bloke had to chase after me to get my stuff done on time. That really wasn’t fair to him at all so I’m just going to work at things at my own pace, submit things when they are ready and they’ll slide in whenever there finds an opening. It’s going to be a much more relaxed schedule (or ‘Lax’ as the kids call it these days) that should work out best for everyone.
I’ve got an awful lot of catching up to do when it comes to Warmachine, so you can expect something from me every once and again, and I’ve got a couple of books to get through in the meantime for the Coles Notes series (which is probably going to be revived at some point) but we’ll see how it goes. Well then, should we talk Warmachine then?
Blinded By the Light – Retribution Actually Gets a Caster
I have seen the light and she floats
So This is What a Real Faction Feels Like
I’ve long been a fan of the Retribution. They were my first faction I actually purchased models for, and my PurpTribution remain some of my favourite models in my collection (right alongside my bubblegum pink Trolls). I just haven’t had much motivation to pull them out of the bag because like my favourite hockey Squadron the Edmonton Oilers, they are just a few pieces short of being worthy of contention. Sure, you’ve got the MHSF and MHAs, and a solid scenario caster in Rahn but if Arcanists can keep the puck out of the net every night then it doesn’t matter how many times Eiryss scores on eGaspy. Or something. That analogy sort of got away from me there something fierce in that last sentence, but you get the picture: Retribution wasn’t playing with a full deck of cards.
Where other factions could point at a model like the Choir, eGaspy or Molik Karn and say “these are the things that make our faction great,” Retribution players were for the longest time left saying, “these models are the things that are good in our faction, but not great.” Up until a few days ago, Scyrah was a faction of almost-theres and also-rans, people who could get to the show but not good enough to run with the big dogs.
And then along came Issyria.
So This is What it Sounds Like When Cryx Cries
So for starters, lets dispense with the pleasantries and get down to the facts (as spoiled in the NQ):
SPD 6 | STR 5 | MAT 5 | RAT 4 | DEF 16 | ARM 13 | FOC 8 | 15 Wounds
Feat: Friendly faction models in her control area gain an additional die on attack rolls, but must discard one die (not necessarily the highest) and gain true sight for one round.
- *Ancillary Attack (Warjack makes free melee/Ranged attack ignoring ROF)
- Arcane Vortex (Spend Focus to negate spell cast withing 3″ of this model)
- Flight (Ignore terrain + models when moving)
- True Sight (Ignore Stealth, Concealment and Camouflage)
- Admonition (3″ move when model moves with 6″ of spell target)
- Crusaders Call (charging models gain +2″ movement)
- Inviolable Resolve (+2 ARM and fearless for model/unit)
- Velocity (Caster can spend 1-3 focus, move 2″ per focus used)
- Blinding Light (Non upkeep, offensive, target model/unit suffers -2 DEF and cannot make ranged or magic attacks for one round)
You know I’ve joked that the best way to turn the Mage Hunter Strike Force into complete terrors was to give the faction a blanket buff like Signs and Portents and True Sight, but I didn’t think that they’d actually do it. Even with terrible damage, RNG and RAT the MHSF strike fear into the hearts of players far and wide for their ability to ignore pretty much anything thanks to Phantom Seeker from the MHSF UA, so any damage or accuracy buff the faction gets immediately has to be weighed against it’s impact on the MHSF. Push to far and you’ll risk toppling the balance of power.
Well Privateer press have done that and more, applying an even better S&P to the entire faction in a single go, and this feat must immediately be measured against the all time powerful feats like a Haley2 or Gaspy2 in terms of impact. The ability to pick your dice may seem counter intuitive but it helps immensely with critical effects like the main gun on Hyperion or brutal damage on the Stormfall archers. Even a single round of S&P is a big buff to attrition and assassination both. Mage Hunter Assassins are good, but MHA with +2″ movement on the charge (Crusader’s Call) an effective +2 MAT (Blinding Light) and a buffed up version of Signs and Portents? That’s just obscene. The feat is fantastic since it gives you a huge push in both the assassination and attrition directions and it cannot be overlooked how dangerous the MHSF become in Issyria lists. One look at the following chart should be all the proof you need:
This chart makes me feel all warm and tingly, hat tip HERE for the data used in the chart
If you can manage to slap the -2 DEF Blinding Light debuff on an opponents caster, then your damage potential drops below 20 only when you get to ARM 17 and above. And with MHSF’s ability to ignore nearly everything you can think of (including Stealth, take that Bane Thralls!) that means that you’re looking at the rarest of the rare defensive stats to protect against the MHSF barrage of death. And remember, that’s only with 11 (including UA) measly little POW 10 shots into an opponents caster. Get an MHA or a Sentinel or something more beefy and soon you’ve got a hugely damaging feat turn.
Tell Me More, Tell Me More
Woof. So there you go, Retribution gets a feat which qualifies as easily among the games most powerful, and it directly benefits a unit the other factions are already terrified of. There is more to this caster than just the Feat, but not enough more that she’d qualify as broken. The Feat is close, very close. I almost didn’t believe how good it was until I read it in the NQ pages myself. But perhaps the next biggest thing is not what Issyria has, but what she doesn’t have: any offensive potential on her own. There have been Warcaster’s or Warlocks without attacks before in the game, but even a slow slovenly fellow like Rasheth can must up at least a token Zot spell like Arcane Bolt or Sunder Spirit if he absolutely must engage in combat. Illyria floats above all of that, and lets the rest of her army do the heavy lifting.
The sole contribution that Illyria is going to have to the battle is distributing focus, using Anciliary attack once per turn to get a ‘jack (in my view this should always be Hyperion) to shoot twice per turn, and throwing out Crusaders Call and/or Blinding Light every turn. On a good turn, you should be arcing at least one Blinding Light on the field to make your army better, and casting Crusaders Call or another depending on whether or not you are in combat or about to engage. Beyond that, Admonition gives her some shenanigans but nothing really substantial, and Inviolable Resolve is ultimately a support spell that works good for attrition but I’m not sure how much mileage you’re going to see out of it.
Her personal stats are nothing to write home about and although IR and her high FOC can help out there she’s still going to be vulnerable. Truth be told, I would have preferred a spell like Blur instead of Inviolable Resolve but I’m really splitting hairs at this point. Since she’s going to be handing out focus, upkeeping at least one spell and throwing out a Blinding Light at least every turn, you’re going to want protection for her and Arc Nodes and Wishnailer is going to be essential here. She’s not going to win the battle on her own by her own actions, but between Crusader’s Call, Blinding Light, Admonition, Anciliary Attack, Inviolable Resolve and the mother of all feat-turns/assassination runs, she’s going to be a huge contribution to your army. Out of the box she’s probably Ret’s strongest caster to date, by far.
About the only thing I can think of to be wary of in terms of playing her is not overextending for the Feat. If you can get a large amount of guns or a big melee target on your opponent’s ‘caster/’lock, then go for it. If you can’t, there is nothing wrong with popping the feat and leveraging S&P to the full brutal effect as you take a decisive swing in the attrition game.
As far as playing against her goes, I think it’s pretty much a one trick pony. She doesn’t have any real shenanigans to worry about, and other than a ranged or magic unit (or Warcaster!) getting tagged with Blinding Light, there really isn’t much to fear. If you can bring down her Arc Node, she contributes next to nothing to the game, and will have to come forward and deal with your army personally, or risk becoming a focus battery. And get up in her grill, with no weapons or Zots to kill people, she can’t punish you for getting close, only Velocity away, and then you take an edge in the Attrition game as she begins to spend her focus on avoiding you. Watch out for the Assassination (be very careful around MHSF) and get in her face early, and you’ll be fine.
It’s Required to Quote Manfred Mann
- The game lives and dies on the feat, she either takes out the opponents caster or most of the army, or else is at a disadvantage the entire game
- She really can’t crack armour well, thanks to no substantial damage buffs outside of arcanists
- Crusaders Call and Admonition make her army faster than one might think
- Blinding Light is bonkers good in the right matchup, and a solid -2 DEF buff without
- Jam models in her face and she must run away or die
Zombicide – There Is NEVER Enough Zombie (Minis)
This picture is innacurate, there isn’t a billion zombies on the board
From a writing standpoint, the appeal of zombies is obvious. Because there are only a few characters alive in a zombie world that the audience could possibly become invested in the characters become much more developed as it shifts the narrative focus towards character development rather than world building. Since we see so much of Rick on the Walking Dead and the rest of the actors, they are allowed to develop and grow in ways that they would not have been able to in a world where Rick has to actually interact with other living human beings.
From a non-intellectual background, zombies are awesome and killing them is more awesome, since they are identifiable human characters that we don’t have feel bad about running over with a car or blasting in the face with a shotgun. It allows people to be rad and awesome in all the ways a normal non-zombie story doesn’t. It’s sort of like all the robots in samurai jack: when you realize that all of the robots Jack fights are stand-ins for people that were used so they could have a violent show on a children’s network, images like this take on a whole new meaning of significance:
You’ll never look at motor oil the same way
Regardless of artistic merit, Zombies are awesome and have been the “it” thing ever since Walking Dead exploded in popularity, and with the rise of boardgames it becomes inevitable that the two would eventually meet and be awesome.
Zombies Love Kickstarter
I really like the concept of Kickstarter. Rightly or wrongly, helping someone make a game appeals to me and I’ve been showered with games the past 6 months due to a spree early last year and one of the most recent things to arrive on my doorstep was a great deal of Zombicide packs including Season 1, Toxic City Mall and Prison Outbreak, and a whole host of extra characters. (the most recent thing to arrive was actually BattleCon, a game which I’m sure I’ll get to later). Zombicide was an easy buy for me, since I have lots of other zombie games and this was one I had heard very good things about (they originally had a Season 1 only kickstarter which went very well for them) so when Season 2 dragged around I jumped in with both feet.
It’s pretty standard as far as Zombie games go, you build a map with tiles, put down cardboard modifiers such as security gates, rubble, doors and cars and then run through it with a band of survivors trying to accomplish objectives. In one game you might be seeing if you can completely clear a map, another might have you rescuing survivors from a horde of zombies while a third might have you hunting down keys to eventually gain access to a sealed bunker. There are varieties you can play on the scenarios but they are all really just window-dressing on the main act of Zombie Genocide or Zombicide as the makers Guillotine Games have described it.
Your survivors take turns and move through the ruined landscape of the city, collecting items and searching cars and buildings for weapons or tools. Nearly everything you do makes sound, which attracts the ravening horde of undead towards it as they all act on mass after all survivors have finished a turn. The game progresses like this until you’ve either won the game or everyone is dead (outcomes which happen with roughly equal frequency). The Survivors are trying to search everywhere they can in a mad dash for weapons and gear (your starting weapons suck, I curse the pan to the ends of the Earth for it’s terribleness) so that they can destroy the undead, and go up in levels and get more powerful. Each survivor (more on them later) has various abilities they can gain as they level up (each zombie is worth a certain amount of XP) but as the Survivors gain levels, more and more zombies will spawn each turn as the Survivors move from safe Blue, to dangerous Yellow, to harsh Orange and finally apocalyptic Red levels of experience.
All hail the all powerful molotov
Combat in the game runs through the equipment cards, with four numbers driving the combat. The first is the range, which determines whether you can target a zombie (0-2 is same square or 1 or 2 squares away), the second is the number of dice you roll for the attack with the third number being a target you must roll above to score a hit, and the last number is a damage number telling you what kind of zombies you can kill on a hit. After all, a meager pistol is not going to do anything more to an Abomination than piss it off, and that’s the last thing you want.
What begins as a tense game of hide and seek with the zombies where you’re trying to balance sound, visibility and board space so that one player doesn’t get mobbed while the others can search for loot usually ends with an all out blitz of zombies, as the group mows down legions of the undead in the vain hopes of a few more minutes of survival. The entire game loosely translates to Get Gear -> Shoot Zombies -> Do Stuff and it’s amazing how such a simple formula works so well, and when I read through the rules for the first time I had to double back and make sure I didn’t miss anything, but the wonderful sense of progression and accomplishment accompanies this game masterfully. The tenseness of running out into a street to jump and shout and lead a pack of zombies away from your frantically scrounging friends contrasts perfectly with the late-game video-game style wholesale slaughter of zombies later on, and it’s a system that really works. Get the wrong cards early and you might be screwed, with an early game Abomination chasing you through the streets; but with careful planning and managing of sound, you can find yourself dual wielding chainsaws with a pack of dogs and rolling 12+ dice on 3s to kill any zombie, literally mowing down entire packs. Just don’t overextend, all it takes is two bites and you’ll find your outlook changing real quick.
Survivors, Not Quite Infringement
One of the best things about the game is the variety offered through the random item decks, zombie spawn decks, and survivors. Two survivors play nearly completely different when all is said and done, and finding the ways to play each character is half the fun. Guillotine Games have also realized their audience and released characters that people want to play in the form of celebrity homages. So while you might have a completely new character like Kim you might also have some awesome celebrity promo pieces:
This one is my personal favourite, “Too much butter, on, those, trays”
If you can get access to the Promo characters I highly encourage it, although some of the season 1 promos are going for sick prices on eBay. I really hope that Guillotine keeps with this tradition and releases more celebrity packs, as it’s quite hilarious to go zombie hunting with a team composed of pre-meltdown Britney Spears, Mrs Doubtfire, Detective Calahan (Clint Eastwood), an aging Steven Segal and Woody Harrelson from Zombieland. Each new edition of Zombicide comes with a colourful cast of characters but I’d highly recommend you pick up a few of the promo packs if you can get your hands on them.
Ultimately, the game has been fun every time we play it, and other than a few wonky mechanics that were clearly tweaked for balance there have been no complaints and everyone’s had a blast. About the only downside I can think of is the high buy-in cost of the game. If you buy the base sets, plus a few promo sets and maybe some extra zombies (because seriously, you want every zombie mini you can get your hands on, trust me when you have to place a mini and you don’t have enough it sucks, because they all then get to activate) you can easily run yourself in excess of $160 or more. It still gets a very high recommendation for me, and it’s definitely something I’d begin collecting if you and your gaming group has a thing for the Undead.
Sentinels of the Multiverse – Best Superhero Game on the Market?
There is an absolute tonne of game in this little box
I got Sentinels and Zombicide around the same time this year, around Christmas. I got Zombicide about a week before Christmas and Sentinels the day of from my parents. I have to admit, I was more excited about Zombicide than Sentinels to begin with, but not that I’ve played both even though I think Zombicide is super excellent, I think that Sentinels might be the better game.
Zombicide has a lower barrier to entry in terms of theme, since Zombies is going to appeal to more people than superheros, and it’s generally a nicer produced game. Although the production values on Sentinels are world class, Zombicide just seems like there is more to it. There is lots of gorgeous tile and card art on Zombicide, and it takes up your entire table. When you see someone playing Zombicide it looks fun, and every time you look down at your cards or the board where you are surrounded by Zombie minis the entire thing just exudes fun and coolness.
But still I find myself wanting to play Sentinels of the Multiverse more than Zombicide, because while killing zombies is fun, teaming up with your buddies, assuming the mantle of a hero and defeating Baron Blade while simultaneously battling the internal factors of the Wagner Mars Base? That’s just awesome.
Knock-Off Avengers, ASSEMBLE!
A small sampling of the heroes you get in the base game alone
The game begins with everyone selecting a hero (the base set comes with 8) and taking their associated deck. Each hero has a unique 40 card deck that fits their super hero style, from the complex interlocking parts of a Absolute Zero to the straightforward “punch things till they fall down, also be invulnerable” Superman-esque Legacy. The decks play drastically different and have varying levels of complexity depending on how you like to play your heros. (gdaybloke when you’re reading this, try out either Fanatic, a sword and giant armour wielding holy templar child with wings or Ra, a mystic fire-blasting warrior with a flair for the Egyptian, I think you’ll like their style) Once you’ve got those picked out, you pick out a villain and an environment (the base set comes with 4 for both) and you attempt to save the world. (Also my wife will get mad if I don’t post about her favourite hero, The Wraith. Sort of a female batman with lots of gadgets and absentee and not dead parents [they gave her the company and left when she was 18])
Each Villain is different as well, and has to be handled in their own unique way. Baron Blade attempts to pull the moon into the earth, before donning some power armour and messing you up face to face. Grand Warlord Voss sends his innumerable legions after you to crush you beneath his intergalactic boot. And the heroes might even have to deal with the Dreamer, a vulnerable 13 year old girl who they have to protect from herself and the environment while simultaneously battling the psychic projections she’s unknowingly conjuring out of her subconscious (including a “Whipacorn”).
Even the environment can turn against you, from the rampaging dinosaurs of the Pimordial worlds to the inmates in the Super Hero prisons, to the malfunctioning equipment at the Wager Mars base or the chaos of the Time Vortex. Each of these have their own unique challenges which will frustrate and annoy you as you attempt to deal with your selected villain. Though occasionally the environment provides help, like in one occasion when a T-Rex helpfully snacked on Baron Blade and not our wounded heroes (Baron Blade promptly one shot the T-Rex immediately afterwards).
Very Value, Much Variety, So Superheroes
More games needs to do this
This game is simply great, and it’s cheap for all the replay in it. With 8 base heroes, 4 villains, and 4 environments there are lots of different combinations to discover. Each villain really feels unique and new, and the Enhanced Edition is a huge bargain here for much game you get. You even get a box to organize subsequent purchases of expansions or stand-along villains or heroes. I think there is something like 25ish each of heroes, villains and environments released so far, so you’ll definitely not be wanting for things to do with this game.
Anyone who plays superhero cardgames like Vs System should pick this game up, or at least find a way to tyr it. It’s excellent, well designed and deserves to be on your shelf.
I had to use this after using the meme in a title …
I’m not entirely sure when the next post will come (this one just sort of flowed out in a single day) but I’ll likely be diving into the Convergence of Cyriss, because since last we talked an entire faction sprouted fully formed. We should probably talk about them at some point. Hopefully I’ll have played enough Battlecon to get some thoughts in on that as well.
Till next time!